One of the best supermarkets for shopping for plant based foods these days has to be the budget supermarket Aldi.
Over the past few years this store has really come into its own with it’s plant derived foods, and we’re loving that.
In this post we shall give you an Aldi, plant based budget grocery list and recipe examples. Everything on this list will be for healthy, whole foods plant based recipes in particular.
Whilst Aldi do have a large section (mainly freezer foods) of pre-prepped, processed and packaged foods for those times when you need a quick meal, we will not be going over those on our list. We believe in feeding the body whole plant foods where possible for optimal nutrition, and we are going to show you how you can do that using this store’s products.
What Are ‘Whole’ Foods?
Whole foods are foods kept in their ‘whole’ form which is a state more digestible and natural to the Human body.
Nature didn’t exactly design us to be fracturing foods and taking them apart to be eaten. When we do this we make digestion and nutrient absorption harder. Whole foods plant based Doctors agree that it’s the whole foods plant based diet that is best for optimal health and disease prevention.
What happens when we take whole foods apart?
When we extract fibre from foods we turn them into a refined form. You will see many cases of this everywhere you look. The refining process happens in almost everything we eat in today’s world.
Most grains have had their fibrous husks removed to make them white. These include rices, wheat, corn, pastas and flours to name just a few.
White sugar is in almost ALL junk foods and is another example of refining sugar cane and taking away its fibre.
The same can be said for oils. We extract oils from pretty much everything and use them in our foods, frying and baking.
Even vegetables and fruit juices count…
We juice our fruits and vegetables to make them easier to consume in unnatural amounts.
The biggest problem with all this refining and extracting is the fact that we can then eat foods in UNNATURAL amounts. This allows us to consume MORE sugar and oil than is good for us because our bodies don’t need to do the hard work of breaking it down. This can lead to blood sugar problems and ultimately all manner of diseases can stem for this over time.
Examples of whole foods:-
- Eating the whole olive as opposed to the olive oil.
- Getting all your fats from WHOLE foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds.
- Eating the whole orange as opposed to the juice.
- Eating wholegrain rice, pasta and bread as opposed to the refined, white versions.
- Drinking smoothies made from whole fruits and vegetables as opposed to juicing.
- Eating your potatoes and other fruits and veggies with their skins on (if safe).
How To Read Labels On Your Aldi Shop
When it comes to shopping anywhere (not just Aldi) you will need to be scanning labels and getting used to scanning labels for unscrupulous ingredients.
Do not feel intimidated by this task because it’s SO simple once you understand what you’re looking for.
For starters, you already have a big section of your healthy diet that is really simple in your fruits and veggies. You already know that these are whole foods and Aldi has a lot of these. They are also pretty inexpensive, whole foods that you should be eating in abundance.
Go for recognisable ingredients only!
After that, you just want to be checking that all ingredients on labels are recognisable as foods to you. Anything that you don’t understand or anything with more than 5 ingredients is generally not going to be a health food. This is a pretty basic way to go about label reading.
To go a step further for a whole foods diet you will need to check for oils and sugars too. Don’t worry about oils and sugars coming under the many other names they have (there’s over 5o different names for sugar alone!). You won’t need to worry about coming undone with this if you have already stuck to the first simple rules above of no more than 5 ingredients and no unrecognisable words.
ALDI, Plant Based Budget Grocery List & Recipe Examples
We will be sticking to only whole foods on this list, apart from a couple of healthier oils for cooking and baking. However, you won’t need to use much of these at all and will be able to stick to 95% whole foods plant based diet with this list.
We have done this shop in no particular order because every store may well be set out differently.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables of all kinds. Go for all the colours of the rainbow and try to eat them lightly cooked or raw for best nutritional results.
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Fresh herbs and spices
DRIED, CANNED AND PACKAGED PRODUCE
- Coconut oil for cooking and baking in moderation.
- Good quality olive oil
- Brown rice. Go for pre cooked or dry depending on your time restrictions. Making your own is better because it won’t have added oils and will be more cost effective and tastier.
- Quinoa (same reasons as rice)
- Brown pasta
- Brown bread
- Pumpernickel bread
- Noodles (check for egg)
- Soy sauce
- Dried herbs and spices
- Apple cider vinegar
- Unroasted nuts and seeds (be sure to buy chia and flax so you can use them as an egg replacement and binder)
- Dried fruits
- Dark chocolate (85% cacao solids is best and naturally vegan)
- Canned vegetables and pulses. These include, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans, butter beans, sugar-free baked beans, tinned vegetables in water and tinned tomatoes.
- Oat cakes
- Wholegrain rice cakes
- Wholegrain crackers
- Peanut butter. Check it is their one that just contains peanuts and a little salt as they also do one with oils in.
- Almond butter
- Yeast extract
- Maple syrup
- Whole food bars. Check they are the types that just contain nuts, fruit and natural flavouring.
- Green tea
- Tinned fruits and vegetables. Make sure they have no added sugar or preservatives.
FRIDGE AND FROZEN PRODUCE
- Frozen fruits of blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherries, mango and pineapple.
- Green peas
- Other frozen veggies
- 100% juice ice-lollies
Meal Ideas & Examples For Use:-
Veggies and salad
Use fresh veggies and salads for raw salads, veggie curries and stir-frys.
Use sweet potatoes and white potatoes for chips, homemade fries, baked potatoes, mashed potato, air-fryer roast potatoes and gratins.
Use fruits as a snack as they are, make a fruit salad, add to smoothie bowls or even use in baking.
Avocado is one of Mother Nature’s superfoods with many, many health benefits and a high vitamin E content.
Use avocado smashed on your toast with garlic, tahini and grated carrot, made into a chocolate pudding, chopped onto chilis or added to smoothies. It’s FILLING and low GI, keeping your blood sugar stable and ultimately helping with weight loss.
Avocado is filling and very satiating. Chopping half onto your meals will keep you full for around 5 hours
DRIED, CANNED AND PACKAGED PRODUCE
Use coconut oil for baking, stir-frying and homemade chocolate. Coconut oil is good for high heating as it has a high smoking point.
Olive oil can be used in moderation on salads and veggies. Be sure to buy high quality, extra virgin oil and only consume it cold as it has a low smoking point. Heat treatment will destroy many benefits and can even make it unhealthy.
Use wholegrain or quinoa rice for a side to any meal. Quinoa also makes amazing breakfast bowls which are high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids, making them the perfect start to your day.
Or use in stir-fried tofu-rice with peas and sweetcorn.
Use brown pasta as a base for veggies, sauces and soups.
Dried pulses such as lentils and beans are available in some stores. Use them for soups, stews, curries, hummus and bean chili.
Oat cakes and rice cakes
Oat cakes make the perfect snack because they are low GI and keep you full for hours, due to them being a very complex carb. Add a spoonful of peanut butter to your oatcakes and you have a substantial snack or lunch that will keep your blood sugar stable, thus promoting weight loss.
You can do the same for your rice cakes, but they won’t fill you up for as long.
Other toppings for oatcakes and rice cakes are hummus and avocado.
Use dried fruits in homemade granola bars, fat burning breakfast granola, fruit cakes and cookies.
Use dark chocolate chopped onto your smoothie bowls, melted over your chewy, peanut butter dates and sugar free snickers protein bars, or just eat alone as a snack when you feel peckish. Don’t eat too much dark chocolate at night as you may find it stimulating before bed, due to it containing caffeine.
Don’t buy expensive chocolate chips. Just put your bar of chocolate on a chopping board and chop into small pieces. If you’re baking with it then it will melt anyway.
Canned pulses of all kinds are really inexpensive in Aldi and are perfect to have in your store cupboard for soups, stews, chilis and curries.
The great thing about the canned pulse is the fact that there is no 24 hour soaking and long cooking times required. You can literally use your beans straight out the can. Granted, when you soak and cook your own they may taste slightly better, BUT, this is a huge time saver folks.
Nuts and seeds
You can eat raw nuts and seeds directly out the pack as a raw and whole foods snack. They’re also fantastic in granolas, granola bars, chopped onto homemade ice-cream, smoothie bowls or chopped into baking.
Chia and flax meal can be soaked in a little water (about 1 part flax/chia meal to 2 parts water) for 10 minutes until it goes gloopy. One tablespoon of dried seed makes about one egg equivalent.
Spices and herbs
The herbs and spices section at Aldi is also pretty awesome. They do a wide range of both of these and they are also good quality.
Herbs and spices have many health benefits (see our amazing, weight loss spice mix). You will find that when you start your healthy eating plan, you will be using an abundance of spices and herbs to flavour plant based meals such as soups, stews, curries, tofu, tempeh, rices and vegetables. In fact, you will probably never use healthful spices as much as when you’re plant based!
Peanut butter and nut butters
Aldi’s peanut butter made form 100% peanuts is fantastic value and is SO versatile.
Use smooth peanut butter in homemade protein bars, smoothie bowls, nice-cream, swirled into porridge, granola bars, cakes or just eat STRAIGHT OUT THE JAR!
Crunchy nut butter is great on toast, apple, banana or celery sticks. But, whether you’re a smooth or crunchy peanut butter lover, just be sure to make it a staple in your diet. Peanuts ate the highest protein nut that is also full of nutrition and antioxidants. It’ also the CHEAPEST nut to buy.
Pure maple syrup is usually expensive, but Aldi do one that is almost half the price of any we have seen in other Supermarkets.
Maple syrup is a WAY healthier sweetener with multiple vitamins and minerals and a lower GI than white sugar. Use it in moderation in your baking, on your porridge, on your pancakes and homemade, whole foods waffles. It is high calorie, so be aware of that.
Aldi do a yeast extract that tastes great. Just as good as the branded yeast extracts; if not better and quite a bit cheaper.
You can use yeast extract on your toast and as a meaty stock in your soups and stews. Goes especially well in this comforting, beefless stew with dumplings.
The great thing about yeast extract is it’s high in that all important B12 that is needed on your vegan or plant based diet.
FRIDGE AND FROZEN PRODUCE
Use hummus as a sandwich filling, as a dip for crudites or with your falafel and pitta breads.
Hummus is made form chickpeas and is very easy to make at home from your average canned chickpeas.
Frozen fruits are an absolute life saver because they taste great and they don’t spoil.
You can use berries and other fruits in healthy fruit crumbles, smoothies, ice-cream, granola bars and a myriad of baking and other recipes. Fruits tend to be frozen at peak ripeness which holds in all their nutrients and flavour.
Always have some frozen berries at home because they are so high in fibre and ANTIOXIDANTS that are vital to health.
Thanks for visiting ZestForever today!
We hope that we have made your plant based life a little easier by helping you to shop for your favourite foods the healthy way.
Feel free to share this article with your friends and family via our social media buttons. You never know, you may inspire somebody to begin the healthful, planet friendly planet based diet for themselves and that’s a great thing.
You may also wish to check out our amazing $1 Meal Plan Trial where you will find all our easy recipes that use many of the above ingredients.